Tag Archives: holiday side dishes

platter of balsamic pecan sweet potatoes

Balsamic Pecan Sweet Potatoes

November 8, 2022

platter of balsamic pecan sweet potatoes


There are two camps of sweet potato connoisseurs. Sweet and not sweet. I’ve done sweet and I’ve done not too sweet. Seems the classic American route is to top with marshmallows. Those who like the dessert level tuber will dip from the casserole top. The savory coalition will dig deeper in the dish. Continue reading

skillet of tangy cheddar cauliflower

Tangy Cheddar Cauliflower

Tangy Cheddar Cauliflower

skillet of tangy cheddar cauliflower

Make your plan for Thanksgiving yet? Each year I think of new vegetable sides to grace the table of bounty (and it’s all about the sides, right?). I also dream of harvest desserts, which in my mind are second in command.

head of cauliflower

we must place cauliflower on the pedestal it so richly deserves

Behold the cauliflower, Queen of Vegetables. Roasted, riced, in crackers and gnocchi, in wraps and soups and stews, the main affair and the sidekick. Moreover, stores are now loaded with fresh cauliflower, even vivid colors like orange and purple. This is a Recent Thing.

Potatoes occupy the number one place in my heart of hearts and I will never forsake them. A holiday table is not complete unless something like Cheddar Parmesan Potato Gratin makes an entrance. However, let us eat more veggies and fewer starches for better balance. This cheesy side dish holds its own against any creamy potato side, I’ll wager.

Save the Cauliflower Bits for Enjoying Later

Here is my trick for cutting cauliflower : divide into quarters and manually make florets. Cut and save the trimmed bits for a tasty salad; they keep in the fridge for days.

quartered cauliflower

cauliflower trimmings

save those trimmings – they make a great salad

Tangy Cheddar Cauliflower is a good make-ahead dish. Once defrosted, run under the broiler to give a nice burnished top and serve hot. Equally important, now all you need is a great accompanying potato dish to complete your holiday table.

closeup of tangy cheddar cauliflower

Tangy Cheddar Cauliflower

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes 6-8 servings


one large head cauliflower
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons gluten free flour mix – I like King Arthur measure-for-measure*
one cup whole milk
one cup greek yogurt or sour cream
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
* regular all purpose flour also works well


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut head of cauliflower into quarters and manually break into large bite size pieces, placing on heavy non insulated sheet pan; if desired, save cauliflower trimmings for enjoying later.
  3. With clean hands, toss cauliflower with olive oil and one teaspoon kosher salt, on the pan.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, giving a good shake halfway through to move pieces around.
  5. If making ahead, turn off oven and if serving soon, place oven on high broil setting.
  6. While cauliflower bakes, make sauce : melt butter in sturdy two quart saucepan over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook over medium low heat, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes, avoiding browning.
  7. Slowly add milk, whisking (few tablespoons at a time to avoid shocking the starch and making sauce grainy), then do the same with the greek yogurt or sour cream.
  8. Increase heat slightly and cook mixture about 4 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  9. Off heat, add cheddar and whisk well just until cheese is melted.
  10. Add roasted cauliflower to sauce and place all in oiled heavy broiler proof cast iron skillet or baking dish.
  11. Broil several minutes or just until top is nicely browned.
  12. If dish is made ahead and frozen, defrost thoroughly in fridge, then bake at 400 degrees until warmed throughout (time depends on depth of dish), then broil until just browned on top.

Butternut Squash Gratin

november 10, 2017

butternut squash gratin


Each year at Thanksgiving, folks divide up into two camps. Sweet potato and no sweet potato. For the sweet potato lovers, further subdivision yields the sweet sweet potato side dish aficionados  (marshmallow people, I’m talking to you) and those who insist on savory sweet potato dishes at the holiday table, like my Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes. Me, I like it all. I grew up with what my parents referred to as candied yams, sweet potato chunks swimming in a sweet glaze and more of an afterthought to the meal. It was our duty to serve them, but no one was clamoring for their presence. And if memory serves, they were canned and not fresh, an oddity because of the global availability of sweet potatoes in autumn. Continue reading